Tuesday, 24 December 2013

That's Christmas: Merry Christmas to all our readers!

That's Christmas: Merry Christmas to all our readers!: Happy Christmas to all readers of That's Christmas! And a Happy and joyous New Year!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Elephant Tree

The Elephant Tree is a book for children by Melanie Dore.

It tells the story of how a family move from their modern home to an older, somewhat shabby new home.

Yet Jessica realises there is a great deal to learn about the house. Not only are there boxes filled with ancient diaries, there is wonderful garden to explore that is overgrown and filled with possibilities of adventure. Including the mysterious elephant tree and the previous inhabitants of the house and their friends.

Melanie Dore interweaves the past and the present in a highly entertaining an extremely well-written fashion.

It is a hardback book and is an ideal Christmas gift for the child who has a love of adventure and mystery.

It costs £10.99 and is published by Book Guild Publishing, ISBN 978 1 84624 890 0.  

Who or what was Lee Harvey Oswald? New book has startling answers

A new book by Glenn B Fleming has some startling answers to the question of who or what was Lee Harvey Oswald?

The official line was that he was a failure as a U.S. Marine and that he was a disaffected young man who defected to the Soviet Union but came to regret his decision to defect and returned to the U.S.A., with his tail between his legs and with a Russian wife.

Even though he returned from the Soviet Union he still harboured left wing views which caused him to decide to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.

However, in his book 'S-172, Lee Harvey Oswald Links to the Intelligence Agencies' Glenn B Flemming raises some interesting points and facts that mean the "crazed, disaffected leftward leaning lone assassin" model of Lee Oswald is really no longer sustainable.

For it transpires that Lee Oswald had actually been sent to the Soviet Union as a deep cover agent, most likely by the CIA. Incidentally, Lee Oswald had very high level security clearance as he worked with the U2 spy plane operations, so was not the failed Marine that some people have claimed.

Fleming reveals that Lee Oswald was involved in a veritable alphabet soup of U.S. intelligence agency groups. The CIA, the FBI and the O.N.I.

He was variously involved as a spy or an informant, or a confidential agent, sometimes, it would seem, as a combination of all of those at the same time.

Fleming points out that in all likelihood Lee Oswald never owned the rifle allegedly used in the murder of President Kennedy, that the rifle was probably only a prop and was not used to shoot Kennedy,  that officer Tippit was shot by a fellow police officer who was one of the real killers of President Kennedy and that Lee Oswald was shot to stop him revealing the truth about what had happened. That Oswald, who probably thought he was infiltrating the gang that plotted the murder of Kennedy, was, in reality, set up to take the fall for the murder.

Fleming looks at the likely genuine conspirators and explores why they may have decided to mount what was, in effect, the most successful military coup in modern history.

The book is published in paperback by Empire Publications the ISBN  is 978-1-909360-19-8.

The website address of Empire Publications is

The book is an ideal Christmas present for students of modern history, students of politics and those interested in the Kennedy murder.

"Map" found at Stonehenge

The second edition of The Stonehenge Enigma by Robert John Langdon has been published.

In it Mr Langdon claims that a map, dating back some 6,000 years, has been found at Stonehenge. And that this map (which was partially buried) depicts the legendary island of Atlantis.

However Mr Langdon is swift to point out that this is no legendary Atlantis situated off Africa or in the Mediterranean. This 'Atlantis' was a very real place, now under the North Sea and which is described as Doggerland by archaeologists.

The book is a fascinating read and Mr Langon makes some compelling points.

It is published by ABC in hardback and costs £14.99. The ISBN is 978-1-907979-02-6.

It is an ideal stocking filler for anyone interested in history and archaeology.

You can learn more at

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Beardog's Big Adventure

Beardog's Big Adventure is a charming book by Susie Tinson about a very friendly, very large and somewhat strange looking dog who is called Beardog.

Beardog lives on the streets of a small, Portuguese town called Ferragudo.

He roams round the town with his best friend Barnie, hunting for food and looking for friends amongst the many holidaymakers who visit the town.

But Beardog is sad. He doesn't belong to anyone or anywhere and he is desperate to find a loving home.

But Barnie has heard of a place far, far away where odd-looking animals are accepted and made to feel very welcome, cherished and loved.

This is Beardog's Big Adventure.

It is an extremely well-told story ideal for children and their parents. It is very well illustrated.

It is in hardback from and costs £9.99.

It is an ideal Christmas present.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Great Detective Returns! Sherlock Holmes faces some new cases

The Great Detective Returns! is a collection of new Sherlock Holmes short stories by N.M. Scott.

There is nothing wrong with the stories, but I was left with a feeling that they could have been so much better than they were. Nowhere near enough was made of Holmes' vast knowledge of the forensic sciences, and it appears that the Holmes of these stories almost stumbled upon his deductions by accident.

There were a few points that made it clear that, despite the deliberate impression that the stories were by Dr Watson an Englishman of the late 19th and early 20th Century, that the stories are written in the 21st Century and this did jar a little, it has to be said.

However, having said that the book is a hardback by the Book Guild and at £16.99 will make the dedicated Sherlock Holmes fan an admirable stocking filler.

ISBN 978 1 84624 955 6.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Fatal Tears. The Journeys of Rupert Windfield by Stuart Fifield

Rupert Windfield is young, he is an Egyptologist but then he decided to escape from his family and even his career.

Soon he has thrown it all over for a somewhat dubious career as a tour guide on a Nile paddle steamer.

The Great War (still yet to gain the title First World War) was now a memory and, once again, wealthy were in Egypt once again, thronging to look at the remains of one of antiquities' former great civilisations.

At first, the trip is normal. Or as normal as one can expect with a varied collection of the indolent, the ignorant and the prejudiced all in the mobile hothouse that was a Nile paddle steamer.

But soon, young Winfield realises that not is all that it seems on this journey. Some of the guests have secrets, some seem to be more than they might appear at first glimpse.

Accidents start to happen. But why? What is happening? Why is it happening?

This thriller ranges through time and space amongst various locations in Africa and beyond. Stuart Fifield spent time growing up in Uganda and Kenya, where his father was a civil servant. He later lived in the Seychelles and South Africa and he was able to use his experiences as a foundation stone for his novel.

It is published in hardback at £17.99 by the Book Guild. The ISBN is 978 1 84624 872 6.

Viking Ventures by Barbara Robertson

Viking Ventures is a fictional story written by Barbara Robertson for children aged nine and upwards.

Although the book is fictional you should be aware that the historical details are very accurate as Barbara Robertson is no slouch when it comes to undertaking meticulous and detailed research for her books.

Harriet, Jake and Matthew are spending the summer holidays with their grandmother who lives in the seaside resort of Ormsthorpe.

But one storm-tossed night, under the light of a full moon, something extraordinary happens. The three siblings are magically transported back to the days of the Vikings!

They meet Olaf and Sigrid who teach them all about the ways of the Vikings.

They sorrowfully tell Jake and Matthew how their own dear children have been kidnapped during a raid and enslaved by the terrifying raiders.

And they ask their new-found friends to help rescue the children. But first, they must devise a cunning stratagem to effect the rescue.

We follow the children as they disguise themselves as Vikings, board a Viking Longship and embark on a perilous and potentially deadly secret mission to rescue the children!

The story is very well told, the author is a qualified and experienced teacher, which has certainly helped the book to become the excellent work that it is. But Barbara Robertson is also a storyteller in the ancient traditional of storytelling, which shines forth in this enchanting book.

It's a book that parents and teachers can read to children (please keep in mind that Viking history is part of the National Curriculum) or that children will be delighted to read for themselves.

There are also some evocative and excellent pencil drawings by Michael Avery.

It is a hardback book costing £9.99, published by Book Guild Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84624-873-3.

Editor: The end of the book leaves open the opportunity for the three children to enjoy further adventures in history. Here's hoping they will arrive on the bookshelves sooner, rather than later!


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion

The Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion, by Andrew Delhunty and Shelia Dignen is a reference work that really should grace the shelves of anyone with a passion for, or a professional relationship, with words and language.

Allusions are a colourful way of illustrating points, of getting ideas across and of expanding on the use of our language.

But that allusion that everyone draws on so readily? Where does it come from? Who first coined it as an allusion? Who wrote it or said it in the first place?

This A to Z work is a masterful effort to show the who, why and what of allusions that are often common currency, linguistically speaking, but the origins of which may be uncertain or unknown.

In this brilliantly written and well-researched reference work you will find out all you need to know and some stuff that although you might not have needed to know, you will be better off for knowing!

At £10.99 this Oxford University Press book is a modestly priced ticket to allow you to gain entry to the wonderful world of allusion!

And you will find out that all is not as it seems! For example, "Naughty but Nice" was not originated in the 1970s as part of a campaign to promote cream cakes. Although it was certainly used in this campaign, its real origin was as the title of a music hall song published in 1871!

ISBN 978-0-19-956746-1.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A Dreadful Murder. The Mysterious Death of Caroline Luard

This book, The Mysterious Death of Caroline Luard, is by top selling and award winning crime novelist Minette Walters.

However, this book is different to her fictional offerings, as it is the true story of how the callous, brutal murder of an innocent woman caused the community of Ightham to become embroiled in a vile hate campaign against the husband of the victim, Major-General Charles Luard, who, according to vicious rumours,  had callously slain his wife and then played the part of the grieving husband.

How the case remained one of the unsolved (even to this day, 105 years later)  murder cases on the records of Kent Constabulary.

Walters goes back to the basics of the case and examines the statements of the witnesses who were interviewed by the police.

Walters explains why she believes that Charles Luard was innocent of the crime, but she does indicate that she feels the police were wrong to blame a passing vagrant criminal for the murder, she believes that the murder was committed by someone who was local and, probably known to Caroline Luard.

However, Walters explains her reasoning and points out that the tragedy of Mrs Luard's death were to have further, equally tragic outcomes.

The book is part of the innovative Quick Reads series and costs £1.00. To learn more about this series of book you can visit

Saturday, 9 March 2013

That book on Amazon you want to buy. Is it new?

Recently I searched for a certain paperback book on and found what I wanted at £5.96. It was to be part of a Birthday present and I almost had it giftwapped by Amazon but forgot to order this service, having the book delivered to me, instead.

It was a good job that I did not have it giftwrapped because when the book arrived it was in a very poor state with the spine suffering from damage and the photographic section in the middle on the point of detaching itself.

To make matters worse, even though I'd paid £5.96 for the book, on the cover of the book  was a charity shop sticker with the price of £1.50!

I complained and got a refund, which is being processed now, but it has made me wary of ordering further books from